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Charlie Chan Is Dead 2: At Home in the World (An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction-- Revised and Updated) Paperback – February 24, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 573 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (February 24, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142003905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142003909
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #309,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A decade after Charlie Chan Is Dead (1993), until now the best source of contemporary Asian American fiction, novelist and poet Jessica Hagedorn returns to edit a new collection of 42 selections by members of America's fastest growing group. Classically separate from America's "melting pot," Asian immigrants have joined forces to combat racism and social injustice despite enormous differences among them in ethnicity, education, and income levels, a diversity well reflected in the fiction showcased here. There's the Chinese grandmother in Jen Gish's "Who's Irish," who cannot understand her son-in-law's Irish family's "plain, boiled food and plain, boiled thinking." Peter Bacho's "Rico," a portrait of an unemployed "fightin' Philippino" whose only option is enlistment during Vietnam. And Vietnamese-born Lindh Dinh's "Dead on Arrival," a privileged immigrant's stream-of-consciousness reverie that never strays far from thoughts of random mortality. Throughout, the family/not-family, belonging/outsider themes reverberate, rendering these stories at once particular and universal. Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Jessica Hagedorn is the author of the novels Dogeaters and The Gangster of Love, Dream Jungle, and a collection of poetry and short fiction, Danger and Beauty.

Elaine H. Kim is an author and editor, as well as Associate Dean of the Graduate Division and Professor of Asian American Studies at UC Berkeley.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Lee Wesselmann TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 2, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jessica Hagedorn has put together a mostly impressive collection of short stories and a few novel excerpts written by Asian Americans. From well-known names to lesser known talents, this anthology covers the wide terrain of both stylistic approaches and Asian cultures. Its writers can claim heritages from Vietnam, India, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Japan, Cambodia, and Korea. Some stories, such as Peter Ho Davies's "The Hull Case," have little, if anything, to do with Asian culture, but most have stronger connections to cultural uniqueness. Sarah Chin's "Red Wall" follows a Chinese-American narrator as she explores the faces of China as the member of a documentary film crew. Bharati Mukherjee, in her well-known and powerful story "The Management of Grief," explores the impact on the Canadian-Indian community of a plane crash in India that kills their loved ones. Ka Vang's "Ms. Pac-Man Ruined My Gang Life" tells of a Hmong member of a girl-gang who is forced by her home-girls to exact revenge on a Puerto Rican girl. Gish Jen's strong "Who's Irish?" is movingly told in broken but lucid English by a Chinese woman who doesn't like the wildness in her half-Irish granddaughter. Some of my favorite writers are included here: Chang-Rae Lee, Ruth Ozeki, Akhil Sharma, Mukherjee, Jhumpa Lahiri, Monique Truong. However, many of these forty-two writers were unknown to me before I read their stories, and I'm grateful Hagedorn introduced me to their work.
While some of these stories fall short of succeeding, all are well-written. The range in voices gives the reader a sense of the variety of the cultures and their individual members. I recommend this for readers of international fiction as well as Asian-Americans who long for writers who speak to their culture. This would make an excellent textbook for high school and college level courses that explore non-Western contemporary literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Phil Lee on July 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a review of a 4th anthology on Asian American fiction, with a brief comparison to ones that came before. With a goal of looking expressly for new ethnic South East Asian, Vietnamese writers, I was in luck with four entries, by Linh Dinh (1963- ), Christian Langworthy (1967- ), Dao Strom (1973- ), Monique Truong (1968- ), and a bonus by a Hmong (Cambodia), Ka Vang (1975- ).

My quest was to examine the lyrical nature of Vietnamese literature. Unfortunately none of the featured authors had this style rub off on them, dubiously trying to write as an Asian American, whatever that is supposed to imply. I came to this conclusion after skim reading the full-length books by the Dinh, Strom, and Truong.

IMHO, Linh Dinh (1st gen immigrant, 1975, fellowship in Italy) is trying too hard to write on hip topics, much like Amy Tan did in her later novel with ersatz erudition in such work as "Saving Fish from Drowning (05) [Amazon 3* instead of 4.5*]." I'd highly recommend he stick with poetry and have bilingual works published; such as Nguyen Du.

Dao Strom's (1st gen immigrant, 1975) "Grass Roof, Tin Roof," is good writing, but lacks utilizing elements of former "Viet" lyrical skills.

And Monique Truong's (1st gen immigrant, 1974, Yale, Columbia Law Sch) tries too hard trying to emulate the French.

So why are these 1st gen Vietnamese authors trying to be something that they aren't?

Only Ka Vang, (1st gen immigrant, 1980, PoliSci UMN, lit & theatre, UK), the single Hmong author stays closer to her cultural roots.

---

So where does one find lyrical Vietnamese poetry and prose? Seek:

James Banerian (Ed & transl), "Vietnamese Short Stories: an intro [10 anthology]," Sphinx, 1986, 0-932729-03-7, 160pgs.
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Format: Paperback
Jessica Hagedorn's second installment of the Asian American experience, CHARLIE CHAN IS DEAD 2: AT HOME WITH THE WORLD comprises of a diverse group of provocative Asian American fictional writers who share their inspiring stories. These writers are third-fifth generation Asian Americans who were either born or immigrated to the United States during the late 1950s and 1960s and lived their formative years during the 1970s and 1980s influenced by American material and popular culture, which is a significance distinction that defines their identity. This factor captures the essence of American and Asian culture, which embodies an eclectic marriage to large proportions. All the writers and their essays have merits of their own. However, it is their storytelling that reveals a shared intimacy and complexity, which forms this shared experience. The subtitle of the book is quite fitting because it best describes "home" within this diaspora of writers.

CHARLIE CHAN IS DEAD 2 is rich with Asian American culture. The dialogue and dialects reveal the various voices and faces, which journey beyond US boundaries. The essays in this collection are graphically detailed with metaphors that relate to religion, family, and Asian cuisine. These writers embrace their culture with the voices they provide for the characters they present. The writers jokingly confront stereotypes and acknowledge and understand that it is a part of their identity. The stories speak of the present but resonate with the past struggles Asian Americans have had to experience in the United States.

The essays in CHARLIE CHAN IS DEAD 2 offer a fresh mix of Asian American voices that may appeal to a younger group of readers preferably at the high school and college level.
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